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Algal speciation & evolution lab

Research at Charles University

Our research concentrates on the discovery and characterization of freshwater, terrestrial, and symbiotic microalgal diversity. We are fundamentally interested in the evolution of morphological and ecological traits within closely related species. By combination of molecular, morphological, and ecophysiological methods, we aim to understand the mechanisms that have generated and distributed the diversity of eukaryotic microorganisms. In addition, we investigate the role of these microorganisms in shaping the mutualistic interactions in lichen associations. The main algal groups we work on include freshwater silica-scaled chrysophytes (the genera Synura and Mallomonas), terrestrial green algae (the genus Klebsormidium), and lichen symbionts (the genus Asterochloris).

Main topics of our research

  • Evolution, morphological diversification, and biogeography of evolutionary young species complexes
  • The symbiotic associations in lichens
  • Ecological drivers of speciation
  • Diversity and species concept of several algal groups (symbiotic green algae, silica-scaled chrysophytes)

Team leader & members

  • doc. Mgr. Pavel Škaloud, Ph.D.
  • Dr. Magda Škaloudová
  • Dr. Magda Škaloudová
  • Dr. Patricia Moya Gay
  • dr. Veronica Malavasi
  • Mgr. Martin Pusztai
  • Mgr. Iva Jadrná
  • Mgr. Ivana Černajová

Selected publications

  • ŠKALOUD, P., ŠKALOUDOVÁ, M., JADRNÁ, I., BESTOVÁ, H., PUSZTAI, M., KAPUSTIN, D. & SIVER, P.A. (2020) Comparing morphological and molecular estimates of species diversity in the freshwater genus Synura (Stramenopiles): a model for understanding diversity of eukaryotic microorganisms. Journal of Phycology 56: 574-591.
  • ŠKALOUD, P., ŠKALOUDOVÁ, M., DOSKOČILOVÁ, P., KIM, J.I., SHIN, W. & DVOŘÁK, P. (2019) Speciation in protists: Spatial and ecological divergence processes cause rapid species diversification in a freshwater chrysophyte. Molecular Ecology 28: 1084-1095.
  • VANČUROVÁ, L., MUGGIA, L., PEKSA, O., ŘÍDKÁ, T. & ŠKALOUD, P. (2018) The complexity of symbiotic interactions influences the ecological amplitude of the host:  a case study in Stereocaulon (lichenized Ascomycota). Molecular Ecology 27: 3016-3033.
  • PEKSA, O., GEBOUSKÁ, T., ŠKVOROVÁ, Z., VANČUROVÁ, L. & ŠKALOUD, P. (2022) The guilds in green algal lichens—an insight into the life of terrestrial symbiotic communities. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 98: 1-17.
  • ŠKVOROVÁ, Z., ČERNAJOVÁ, I., STEINOVÁ, J., PEKSA, O., MOYA, & ŠKALOUD, P. (2022) Promiscuity in lichens follows clear rules: partner switching in Cladonia is regulated by climatic factors and soil chemistry. Frontiers in Microbiology 12: 781585.
  • ČERNAJOVÁ, I., SCHIEFELBEIN, U. & ŠKALOUD, P. (2022) Lichens from the littoral zone host diverse ulvophycean photobionts. Journal of Phycology 58: 267-28
  • VANČUROVÁ, L., MALÍČEK, J., STEINOVÁ, J. & ŠKALOUD, P. (2021) Choosing the right life partner: Ecological drivers of lichen symbiosis. Frontiers in Microbiology 12: 769304.
  • JADRNÁ, I., SIVER, P.A. & ŠKALOUD, P. (2021) Morphological evolution of silica scales in the freshwater genus Synura (Stramenopiles). Journal of Phycology 57: 355-369.


Charles University
Faculty of Science – Department of Botany
doc. Mgr. Pavel Škaloud, Ph.D.
E: skaloud@natur.cuni.cz
T: (+420) 221 951 648

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Univerzita Karlova v Praze